A Frame Camper – Complete Guide to Buying a New Tiny Home
If you’re interested in tiny trailers and affordable tiny homes, then you should consider buying an A frame camper.
Not everyone can afford or has the space to stick a mammoth RV outside their house, and some pop up campers require a beastly off-road truck to be able to cope with their size and weight.
If you’re a regular Van Clan reader, then you’ll know how much I love trailers. There’s something about Trailer Life that I could really get behind, and having an A frame camper seems like a perfect solution for getting off-grid on a budget.
Everything You Need To Know About The A Frame Camper
But just what is an A frame camper, and how do you use one? Fear not, for we’re going to answer both of these questions and a whole lot more during the course of this article.
We’ve even given you 5 of the best products on the market to have a look at too! Talk about having everything you need under one virtual roof!
Featured Image Credit: Youtube
What Is An A Frame Camper?
If you’ve spent any time looking at pop up trailer campers before, then you might have come across one of these camping units without even realising it.
A Frame Campers are easy-to-use, tow-friendly campers that fit into a trailer unit. They can be pulled by pretty much any vehicle, even something as small as a Fiat Panda or a VW Caddy.
Traditional pop-up campers have canvas sides more akin to the type of thing that you might find in a tent. A frame campers, on the other hand, have hard walls that pop up using gas-struts or power lifts. The system is so simple to use that you can get everything set up in a matter of minutes.
How Much Do They Weigh?
People seem to think that the best campers are the biggest and most luxurious ones. They tend to forget that they are also the ones that guzzle the most gas.
A frame camper trailers are generally light, though the overall weight will depend on which berth you end up buying to accommodate your travel needs. While they might not fall into the featherweight category of the best lightweight trailer on the market, you can expect to be looking at figures of around 2,000-4,000lbs.
Are They Difficult To Tow?
Not at all. In fact, some of the smaller two-birth options are so small that you’ll hardly notice the difference.
Small campers make travelling down country lanes much easier as you don’t have to worry about dragging a huge 40-foot trailer behind you. Every A frame camper packs down incredibly small too, which will be a blessing for anyone who thought that you towed them fully erected!
When packed down, the campers are very streamline and should sit nicely under your rear window. If you’ve towed a trailer full of old furniture to or from a relatives house in the past, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
How Pricey Are They?
Like everything in life, the price of these campers varies on size and condition. You could spend anything from $10,000 to $45,000 depending on whether you buy a new or used trailer.
Likewise, the cost of the finished article will also depend on how pimped out it is inside. You can buy A frame camper models with bathrooms/wetrooms inside, or just opt for a simple model more suited to weekend warriors who like to rough it.
Why Should You Pick an A Frame Camper?
Because A frame campers use hard sided shells as opposed to canvas walls, they are much more durable. They can withstand anything that mother nature throws at them, which is perfect for all-season usage.
Canvas walls and rip and sag, making them less than ideal in rough climates. These A frame campers won’t have any of those problems, and the shape of the roof will prevent any water or snow build-up.
You might get squirrels sliding down it, but there’s no chance you’re going to get woken up by a bucket-load of ice-cold water pouring in through your roof in one of these beauties!
If you’re low on storage space, then an A frame camper is a perfect solution. They’re thin when packed down, standing at just over a couple of feet tall.
You can easily park them in many home garages or even rent a cheap storage facility to keep one in. Heck, you could probably fit one in a shed or man-cave too!
Parking & Driving
In a similar vein, parking these pop up trailers is also super simple too. Many of the models below will easily fit into a normal parking space at a campsite, and they’ll only take up an extra bay when you’re nipping into the supermarket to buy food for your trip.
An extra added bonus to these things being so damn space-friendly is that they won’t cost the earth to tow either. They have a surprisingly tight turning radius and won’t rack up extra unforeseen fuel costs thanks to their lightweight construction.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating off-grid power for your A frame camper. You can install one of the best solar panels for off-grid use to power your gadgets and gear while on the road.
Add a superior battery like these Lithium-Iron Phosphate Battle Born Batteries, and you could pretty much stay in the forest forever!
If you favour suitcase generators, then you could always stick one of those in the boot and fire it up when necessary. If you’re looking for something a little greener and quieter, then you could also consider a power station such as the Jacker Explorer 500 or the Powerpack 450 from PPT.
There’s no right or wrong answer here – do your research and see how much power you are going to need for your trip away. There’s no point taking a gigantic electrical rig along for the ride if you just want to charge your kindle, so do some maths and buy accordingly.
Off Grid Adventures
A frame camper units are compact enough to take into the heart of the wild. They are a great choice for stealth camping enthusiasts who like to covertly find the nicest free camping spots that their area has to offer, and they’re pretty eco-friendly too!
For starters, they don’t have any fuel emissions themselves, and you can easily pull one of these with an eco-friendly electric vehicle.
You’ll also damage less ground using an A frame camper too! Unlike conventional tents that damage a large area of ground when in use, the only area of an A frame camper that touches the floor is the wheels. Plus you will end up sleeping away from the creepy crawlies too – it’s a win-win situation.
Can I Fit My Family In Here?
Again, this depends on what model you choose to purchase. We will be introducing you to some well-known A frame camper brands and models below, many of which have different camper sizes available.
Some, like the first in our list, can hold four people, making them a great choice for the average family. Others are only suitable for one to two people and are far too small for bringing bouncing children along for the ride.
If you’re used to living small, then you won’t have any problem. There might be an initial shock and an adjustment period if you’re used to big RVs or staying in hotels, but the benefits of trailer living are totally worth it.
Are there Any Downsides?
There are a couple of downsides to owning a camper such as this, but they’re minimal and not that much of a problem.
Obviously there is the issue of space. You’re not going to be able to hold a missive party in one of these things, but as a safe and comfortable place to have meals and sleep in, they’re perfect.
Compared to some campers, they might feel a little cramped, especially because the only place that tall people can really stand up is right in the very centre. Some units like the Aliner model below have extra pop-up sections to combat this problem.
If you’re thinking of long term off grid living, then I would advise against making an A frame camper your permanent home. If, however, you’re looking for a solid weekend or day trip camper, then you’ve definitely come to the right place.
The Aliner family camper comes kitted out with everything you need for a comfortable family holiday, including the kitchen sink. It’s spacious and bright, giving you plenty of room for four adults or a family of four to sleep comfortably.
This Aliner A frame camper comes with an off-road package as standard and weighs less than 2,000lbs. At 18-feet long it won’t prove too difficult for novice towers either.
This camper comes with an outdoor shower for washing and cleaning gear, 11-gallons of water storage, and three electrical outlets inside. Water pumps and LED lights come as standard, and you can kit it out with optional extras such as a 6,000 BTU furnace for cold climates!
2. Chalet LTW
The LTW is like a tiny tipi on wheels. It’s the smallest A frame camper on our list and can be towed by pretty much any vehicle on the planet. It has a base vehicle weight of just 990lbs and a GVW of 2000lbs.
This camper is perfect for two people to camp in comfort. It comes with so many amenities that you just wouldn’t think could fit inside such a small space! We’re talking LED lighting, a furnace, fridge, fan, cold water sink, and a cooktop with two burners.
This thing is so small that parking will never be an issue. At 12’9″ it’s a doddle to tow, and the 52″x76″ bed is more than big enough for a starfish-nights sleep.
Chalet have three different sized models, and the LTW is the most affordable in the range!
This range of Flagstaff campers marries a vacuum bonded fibreglass exterior with an unbeatable set-up system that takes the stress right out of setting up your camper.
With weights from 2014lbs to 2670lbs, there are various sized campers that can more than meet you and your families needs. The one-piece construction helps to eliminate leaks or gaps in the structure, giving you a product that should be able to cope with anything you throw at it.
Each Flagstaff A frame camper comes with a tonne of features including a 3-way fridge, USB charging ports, and a microwave for cooking up quick meals on the go.
Check out our article on easy campervan recipes for some tasty ideas!
The Air A from Bolwell is a lightweight, aerodynamic A frame camper. It’s made using signature modern aerospace and composite technology that doesn’t require any rivets or screws.
Talk about fancy!
Available in single or double-bed designs, these campers can be set up from tow mode to camping mode in just 5-minutes. As well as 12V outlets, an 82-litre water tank, and an outside shower, these campers have large panoramic windows for you to look out at the world while laying in bed!
The Air A has a pretty innovative design and can be modified with solar power very easily. Click the link below to check out some more stats!
Last, but by no means least, we have the Jayco Jay A frame camper. Setting this camper up feels like building your own little loft conversion every time you park up. Except that the Jay Series is a heck of a lot easier to put together!
Each camper comes with a 3-burner stainless-steel stovetop, an easy-to-use microwave oven, and lots of other essential features for cooking and living off grid.
These trailers come with a full bed, and some of the larger models boast hardwall bathrooms with indoor showers too! The trailer hitch can also house a storage area for bikes and adventure gear too!
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